Dec 172017


On Friday night I returned to Seattle after a very nice vacation that lasted nearly two weeks. Thanks to the efforts of my NCS writer comrades, I was able to keep my promise to my spouse that I wouldn’t blog (much) while on vacation. And as a further bonus, the loris horde didn’t burn the NCS compound to the ground while I was gone, though I did notice what seem to be the bones of a few small children strewn behind their barbed-wire enclosure that weren’t there when I left. That seems like a fair price to pay if it avoided an assault on our headquarters.

As I try to get my head back in the game, I count 14 days remaining in 2017, and I thought I’d give you a preview of what lies ahead at NCS before the year dies and we cremate its remains. And because I detest posting anything here that doesn’t include music, I’m throwing in one new song after that. Continue reading »

Jan 202017


I’ve let two days go by without a further installment of our Most Infectious Song list, because my time is not wholly within my control, but whose is? To make up for lost time, I’m doubling up on the size of today’s edition.

But the goal of catching up isn’t the only explanation. As I pondered which songs to roll out today, these six seemed to step forward and proclaim “We belong together”. When you hear them one after another perhaps you’ll perceive the connections between them as I did, and if you do, perhaps you should seek psychiatric care. (The preceding songs on this list can be seen here.)


The first track today is “Flammen im Vakuum“, and it comes packaged with a very well-produced video by Melanie Werner that I enjoy watching almost as much as I enjoy the song. Continue reading »

Nov 042016



Last month we were fortunate to bring you premieres of two songs from an album we are very excited about, and now we bring you a full stream of the entire album. Entitled Lunaris, it’s the sixth full-length by the Polish black metal band Arkona, and Debemur Morti Productions is releasing it today.

In writing about one of our previous song premieres, I summed up the music as mystical, majestic, and marauding, and those adjectives hold true for the album as a whole. Continue reading »

Oct 262016



Earlier this month we had the pleasure of premiering a video for a song from Lunaris, the new album by the Polish black metal band Arkona, and today we have the chance to bring you a second song from the album in advance of its November 4 release by Debemur Morti Productions. This one is named “Śmierć i odrodzenie” (death and rebirth).

For those who missed our earlier premiere and may not be familiar with Arkona, they must be considered among the pioneers of Polish black metal, with demos that date back to 1994 and a first album (Imperium) that was released in 1996. Lunaris is the band’s sixth full-length in that long career, and the second one following a span between 2003 and 2014 when the band only participated in a few splits. This is their first album on the Debemur Morti label. Continue reading »

Oct 132016



We have three months left in 2016, and there are still can’t-miss releases on the horizon before we reach New Year’s Day. Judging by the stunning new song you’re about to hear, we’re compelled to say that the new album Lunaris by the long-running Polish band Arkona will be one of these. The album is set for release on November 4 by Debemur Morti Productions, and the name of the song is “Ziemia“.

Arkona must be considered among the pioneers of Polish black metal, with demos that date back to 1994 and a debut album (Imperium) released in 1996. Lunaris is the band’s sixth album in that long career, and the second following a span between 2003 and 2014 when the band only participated in a few splits. This is their first album on the Debemur Morti label. Continue reading »

Mar 022014

Masha Scream, photo by Greg Shanta

Russia’s Arkona have completed a new album named Yav. It will be released on April 25. I’m very interested in hearing it, not only because I’ve enjoyed previous recordings but also because I’ve enjoyed the hell out of the two live Arkona performances I’ve seen so far in Seattle. The frontwoman Masha Scream is a force of nature on stage, in addition to the fact that  she has a great dual voice (both harsh and clean).

I’ve read that for the new album she wrote almost all of the music and almost all of the lyrics, which was the first time it dawned on me that her role in Arkona goes well beyond that of vocalist and magnetic stage presence. But this post actually isn’t about her, or anyone else in the band. It’s about Gyula Havancsák, the Hungarian artist who created the artwork for Yav.

In addition to creating the album cover, which you will see in a minute, he also created pieces for each of the album’s 9 songs. Beginning last week, Arkona began posting the song illustrations on their Facebook page, along with poetic translations of the Russian lyrics into English. So far, five of the illustrations have appeared, and they’re very cool. You can see them next, along with the album cover. To hear a teaser of the new music, go to this location. Continue reading »

Sep 122013

I don’t have anything planned for today other than the completion of DGR’s raunchy challenge, which has been sitting at the top of the site for about 4 1/2 hours. I did other things last night and have to be involved in non-blog things this morning. Sorry about that. There will be something else by early afternoon, Pacific time.

Until then, let me leave you with a song named “Wodnik” by a Polish band named Percival Schuttenbach. When I have more time I’ll have to research where that name came from. The song will appear on an album entitled Svantevit, which will be released on September 21. I picked the song for four reasons. First, because we haven’t had any folk metal on the site for a long time. Second, because the song includes guest vocals by Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova from Arkona, of whom I am a fan.

Third, because I like the song (and yes, there really is a song in the video I’m embedding below, you just have to wait for it). Fourth, because it reminds me again that just about anything sung in a Slavic language automatically sounds more metal to my American ears.

Listen after the jump. See you again later today. Continue reading »

Dec 162012

From me to you, new things discovered today . . .


I became an acolyte of Ghost after witnessing their live ritual twice in the last year. The music was already growing on me before those shows, but they sealed the deal.

Now we have a new Ghost song and a new live video performance of the song to go with it. Ghost began rolling out the song on-line, one recording track after another, and now the entire song is available for listening — and it’s also a free download.

“Secular Haze” has the rhythm of a waltz and fancifully begins and ends with the sound of a calliope. Like so many of the band’s songs, it’s poppy and catchy, and yet moments of ominous tension find their way into the melody. The song didn’t grab me as fast as some of the tracks on Opus Eponymous, but by the third listen I was hooked.

To hear the song and get it for free, go to this location and enter your e-mail address. You’ll then receive a download link by e-mail. To watch the new video, continue on past the jump. Continue reading »

Sep 172011

As a public service, I thought I’d let you know about two North American tours I just noticed yesterday, plus two others announced earlier but not previously mentioned at NCS. The first of the newer ones is advertised by the poster above. What caught my eye, in addition to the name Korpiklaani, was the fact that Russia’s Arkona is on this tour. Arkona is a recent discovery for us here at NCS, thanks to our friend Trollfiend, who provided a guest review of the band’s new album Slovo. Also included on the tour are Polkadot Cadaver and Forged in Flame. I don’t yet know anything about those two bands, but I’m very tempted to see this show simply because of Arkona (though I like Korpiklaani, too), especially because the Seattle stop will be at a relatively small club.

The second tour is the 2011 edition of Thrash and Burn. This has been a summer tour since its inception, but it was a no-show in the summer just past and now appears to have emerged as a re-branding of Winds of Plague’s fall headlining tour. Following in the footsteps of Summer Slaughter, Winds of Plague and the promoters of this tour nominated a group of bands to fill the last tour slot and let fans vote for a winner. A couple days ago, the winner was announced, and it’s Volumes. Interestingly, Volumes was also one of the nominated bands on the Summer Slaughter ballot, but didn’t make the cut that time and instead were included on the Slaughter Survivors Tour. Volumes has a new album called Via that’s getting some buzz, though I haven’t heard it yet.

The rest of the bands on this version of Thrash and Burn are Chelsea Grin, As Blood Runs Black, For the Fallen Dreams, Upon A Burning Body, In the Midst of Lions, and Like Moths to Flames. In other words, the tour should be renamed Deathcore and Burn. No tour schedule has yet been announced.

I must admit that among the fall tours we haven’t yet mentioned at this site, I’m personally more interested in the Mastodon/Dillinger Escape Plan/Red Fang tour and the Mayhem/Keep Of Kalessin/Hate/Abigail Williams tour (which will be joined by Woe on 13 dates not yet specified). The schedules for the Korpiklaani tour and those others I just mentioned are after the jump. Continue reading »

Aug 302011

(We are so pleased to feature the first NCS guest review (and we hope it’s not the last) by one of our readers and frequent commenters, the only guy around here who gives Phro a run for his money, Trollfiend.)

I sometimes find myself compelled to defend my love of folk and pagan metal to the people I talk about music with, regardless of whether or not they might also like it or, if I’m being honest, whether or not they care.  This is because the genre has a bit of a reputation, possibly deserved, of being a little cheesy.  You know what I mean: furs, swords, war paint . . . this is what a lot of people think of when they hear “folk metal”.  For those of us who love it, though, that image is as fundamental as corpse paint is to old school Norwegian black metal.

Unfortunately along with this expected trope often comes a certain level of dismissal: You see a bunch of dirty assholes in fur cloaks and you automatically think, ‘Oh great, another pile of wannabe Vikings.  I bet that guy drives a Prius.’  If you take that approach to Russian folk metal powerhouse Arkona, however, you’re missing out on having your ass kicked all over Siberia in all kinds of heretofore undiscovered and not entirely unpleasant ways.

Like a lot of female-fronted bands, especially in metal, Arkona pretty much revolves around its frontwoman. In this case, however. It’s not because the record label thinks tits and leather pants are going to sell more albums…it’s because iron-piped Masha “Scream” Arhipova is a fucking ballbusting Slavic demon goddess with a whip made out of broken vodka bottles and a voice that is like getting punched in the face with a bear.

So when I was offered the chance to review Arkona’s latest album Slovo (released Aug 26, 2011) I sharted myself with glee.  After I changed my pants (no one likes to sit in cold shart) I sat down to have a listen. Continue reading »